DAVID & PATRICIA DRURY, )
v. ) Appeal Number 01-12617
PHILIP A. MUEHLHEAUSLER, )
ACTING ASSESSOR, )
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, )
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor, SET ASIDE, Hearing Officer finds true value in money for the subject property for tax years 2001 and 2002 to be $345,000, assessed value of $65,550.
Complainants appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by Counsel, Paula J. Lemerman, Associate County Counselor.
Case submitted on documents and decided by Chief Hearing Officer, W. B. Tichenor.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2001.
Complainants appeal the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization which sustained the valuation of the subject property. The Assessor determined an appraised value of $372,830 (assessed value of $70,830, as residential property). Complainants proposed a value of $290,000 (assessed value of $55,100), in their Complaint for Review of Assessment.
The parties waived an evidentiary hearing, scheduled for March 18, 2003, and agreed to submit the appeal on exhibits filed. Exhibits filed were received into evidence for this appeal.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
Complainant submitted as evidence Exhibit A, an appraisal report of Turner C. Lacey, State Certified General Appraiser. The appraiser of Mr. Lacey opined a fair market value of $243,000 for the subject property as of December 23, 2002. Mr. Lacey’s opinion of value was based on both a cost and sales comparison approach. The sales comparison utlized by Mr. Lacey relied upon the sales of three properties which he deemed to be comparable to the subject.
Respondent placed into evidence the appraisal of Mr. Craig Whyman, appraiser for St. Louis County (Exhibit 1). Mr. Whyman arrived at an opinion of value for the subject property of $345,000 based upon a sales comparison approach to value. In performing his sales comparison analysis, the appraiser relied upon the sales of three properties which he deemed to be comparable to the subject property.
Exhibit 2, consisting of three aerial maps of the subject property, was also received into evidence.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization.
2. The subject property is located at 4417 Eagle Estates Drive, St. Louis County, Missouri. The property is identified by locator number 05H610101. The property consists of a three acre tract improved by a two-story, masonry and frame, single-family structure of good quality construction. The house was built in 1989 and appears to be in good condition. The residence has a total of eleven rooms, which includes seven bedrooms, three and a half baths and contains 3,873 square feet of living area. There is a full unfinished basement. The subject has a three-car attached frame garage. Exhibit 1, p. 5.
3. There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2001, to January 1, 2002.
4. Complainants’ evidence was not substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2001, to be $243,000, as proposed by the Lacey appraisal, nor was there substantial and persuasive evidence to establish a value of $290,000, as proposed by the Complaint for Review of Assessment. See, DECISION, Complainants Fail To Prove Value, infra.
5. The properties relied upon by Respondent’s appraiser in performing his appraisal were comparable to the subject property for the purpose of making a determination of value of the subject property. The properties were located within three-quarters to a mile and a half of the subject. Each sale property sold at a time relevant to the tax date of January 1, 2001. The sale properties were located in subdivisions of 2.5 to 3.5 acre tracts and in generally open areas similar to the subject. Exhibit 1, pp. 7 & 12; Exhibit A, Locator Map.
6. Respondent’s comparables were described as follows:
Comparable 1 (14948 Afshari Circle, 1.5 miles from the subject) sold in September 2000 for $377,000. This property consists of a 3.03 acre lot improved by a two-story, brick single-family residence of good quality construction. The house was built in 1988 and appears to be in superior condition to the subject. The residence has a total of ten rooms, which includes four bedrooms, three and a half baths, and contains 3,813 square feet of living area. There is a full unfinished basement and an attached, two-car masonry garage. Exhibit 1, p. 6.
Comparable 2 (14928 Wehmer Estates, 1.5 miles from the subject) sold in June, 2000 for $340,000. This property consists of a 3.58 acre lot improved by a two-story, brick single-family residence of good quality construction. The house was built in 1987 and appears to be in similar condition to the subject. The residence has a total of nine rooms, which includes four bedrooms, two and a half baths, and contains 3,337 square feet of living area. There is a full unfinished basement and an attached, three-car brick garage. Exhibit 1, p. 6.
Comparable 3 (30 Jamestown Farm, 3/4’s of a mile from the subject) sold in April 2000 for $302,500. This property consists of a 3.68 acre lot improved by a two-story, brick single-family residence of good quality construction. The house was built in 1978 and appears to be in inferior condition, to the subject. The residence has a total of eight rooms, which includes four bedrooms, two and a half baths, and contains 3,419 square feet of living area. There is a full basement with 700 square feet of recreation area and an attached, two-car frame garage. Exhibit 1, p. 6.
7. Respondent’s appraiser made various adjustments to the comparable properties for differences which existed between the subject and each comparable. The adjustments made were appropriate and within an acceptable range for a property of the subject’s age, condition, acreage, living area, and amenities. Exhibit 1, p. 7.
8. The net adjustments for Comparable 1 amounted to -$24,650 or -6.54% of the sales price. The net adjustments for Comparable 2 amounted to +$5,500 or +1.62% of the sales price. The net adjustments for Comparable 3 amounted to +$35,050 or +11.59% of the sales price. Exhibit 1, p. 7.
9. The adjusted sales prices for the comparables calculated to $352,250, $345,500 and $337,550, respectively. The appraiser concluded on a $345 value which calculated to a value per square foot of $89.07 compared with the sales prices per square foot of living area for the comparables of $98.87, $101.89 and $88.48. Exhibit 1, p. 7.
10. Respondent did not have to meet a standard of clear, convincing and cogent evidence in this appeal, under the provisions of Section 137.115, RSMo, as he was not seeking to sustain the original valuation presumed to have been made by a computer, computer-assisted method or a computer program. See, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, Respondent’s Burden of Proof, infra.
11. Respondent’s evidence met the standard of substantial and persuasive to establish the value of the subject, as of January 1, 2001, to be $345,000. See, DECISION, Respondent Proves Value, infra.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
The Commission has jurisdiction to hear this appeal and correct any assessment which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, arbitrary or capricious. Article X, section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, RSMo. The hearing officer shall issue a decision and order affirming, modifying or reversing the determination of the board of equalization, and correcting any assessment which is unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary, or capricious. Section 138.431.4, RSMo.
Board of Equalization Presumption
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization. Hermel, Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888, 895 (Mo. banc 1978); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Co. v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650, 656 (Mo. 1968); May Department Stores Co. v. STC, 308 S.W.2d 748, 759 (Mo. 1958). There is no presumption that the assessor’s valuation is correct. Section 138.431.3, RSMo.
Standard for Valuation
Section 137.115, RSMo 1994, requires that property be assessed based upon its true value in money which is defined as the price a property would bring when offered for sale by one willing or desirous to sell and bought by one who is willing or desirous to purchase but who is not compelled to do so. St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Missouri Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Commission, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993). It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date. Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, 897 (Mo. banc 1978).
Market value is the most probable price in terms of money which a property should bring in competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeable and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.
Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specific date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby:
1. Buyer and seller are typically motivated.
2. Both parties are well informed and well advised, and each acting in what they consider their own best interests.
3. A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.
4. Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.
5. Financing, if any, is on terms generally available in the Community at the specified date and typical for the property type in its locale.
6. The price represents a normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special financing amounts and/or terms, services, fees, costs, or credits incurred in the transaction.
Real Estate Appraisal Terminology, Society of Real Estate Appraisers, Revised Edition, 1984; See also, Real Estate Valuation in Litigation, J. D. Eaton, M.A.I., American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers, 1982, pp. 4-5; Property Appraisal and Assessment Administration, International Association of Assessing Officers, 1990, pp. 79-80; Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, Glossary. Exhibits A & 1.
Weight to be Given Evidence
The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule or method in determining true value in money, but is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonably they may be deemed entitled. The relative weight to be accorded any relevant factor in a particular case is for the Hearing Officer to decide. St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977); St. Louis County v. STC, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. 1968).
Trier of Fact
The Hearing Officer as the trier of fact may consider the testimony of an expert witness and give it as much weight and credit as he may deem it entitled to when viewed in connection with all other circumstances. The Hearing Officer is not bound by the opinions of experts who testify on the issue of reasonable value, but may believe all or none of the expert’s testimony and accept it in part or reject it in part. St. Louis County v. Boatmen’s Trust Co., 857 S.W.2d 453, 457 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Vincent by Vincent v. Johnson, 833 S.W.2d 859, 865 (Mo. 1992); Beardsley v. Beardsley, 819 S.W.2d 400, 403 (Mo. App. 1991); Curnow v. Sloan, 625 S.W.2d 605, 607 (Mo. banc 1981).
Opinion Testimony by Experts
If specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert on that subject, by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto.
The facts or data upon which an expert bases an opinion or inference may be those perceived by or made known to the expert at or before the hearing and must be of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field in forming opinions or inferences upon the subject and must be otherwise reliable, the facts or data need not be admissible in evidence. Section 490.065, RSMo; Courtroom Handbook on Missouri Evidence, Wm. A. Schroeder, Sections 702-505, pp. 325-350; Wulfing v. Kansas City Southern Industries, Inc., 842 S.W.2d 133 (Mo. App. E.D. 1992).
Complainants’ Burden of Proof
In order to prevail, Complainants must present an opinion of market value and substantial and persuasive evidence that the proposed value is indicative of the market value of the subject property on January 1, 2001. Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, at 897. Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. See, Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959). Persuasive evidence is that evidence which has sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact. The persuasiveness of evidence does not depend on the quantity or amount thereof but on its effect in inducing belief. Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).
Respondent’s Burden of Proof
Respondent, when advocating a value different from that determined by the original valuation or a valuation made by the Board of Equalization, must meet the same burden of proof to present substantial and persuasive evidence of the value advocated as required of the Complainant under the principles established by case law. Hermel, Cupples-Hesse, Brooks, supra.
Methods of Valuation
Missouri courts have approved the comparable sales or market approach, the cost approach (replacement or construction) and the income approach as recognized methods of arriving at fair market value. St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. STC, 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (App. E.D. 1993); Aspenhof Corp. v. STC, 789 S.W.2d 867, 869 (App. E.D. 1990); Quincy Soybean Company, Inc., v. Lowe, 773 S.W.2d 503, 504 (App. E.D. 1989), citing Del-Mar Redevelopment Corp v. Associated Garages, Inc., 726 S.W.2d 866, 869 (App. E.D. 1987) and State ex rel. State Highway Comm’n v. Southern Dev. Co., 509 S.W.2d 18, 27 (Mo. Div. 2 1974).
Owner’s Opinion of Value
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970). The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation. Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).
Complainants’ Fail To Prove Value
Owners’ Opinion of Value
The Complaint for Review of Assessment (Complaint) filed in this appeal set forth an owner’s opinion of $290,000. This opinion of value was based on the owner’s belief that this was a reasonable increase over the prior appraised value of the property for the 1999-2000 assessment cycle. This opinion of value represented an increase of $10,190 or 3.65% over the market value established by the Assessor in 1999. However, there was no evidence provided which in any way, shape or form would support the $290,000 value. In other words, Complainants failed to establish that this proffered opinion of value was based upon proper elements and a proper foundation. Accordingly, it has no probative value in the appeal.
Complainants also asserted in their Complaint that an alternative fair market value would be a 17% increase in value over the 1999-2000 value of $279,810. This was based on Complainants’ reliance on Section 137.115 RSMo, 2000, that since no physical inspection had been performed on their property for the 2001 assessment cycle that there could be no increase in value of more than 17%. A 17% increase would have resulted in a maximum market value of $327,000 under Complainants’ theory.
This opinion of value, like the $290,000, is not based upon proper elements and a proper foundation. Section 137.115 did not mandate a 17% cap on increases in value of residential property from one assessment cycle to the next. The relevant subsection of 137.115, subsection 10, simply states: “If the assessor increases the assessed value of any parcel of subclass (1) real property by more than seventeen percent since the last assessment, excluding increases due to new construction and improvements, then the assessor shall conduct a physical inspection of such property.” The statute did not provide any specific relief if the assessor did not make a physical inspection, whatever that term may actually encompass. The overriding responsibility of the assessor is to assess residential property at nineteen percent of its true value in money (fair market value). Section 137.115.1 & 5(1), RSMo.
Therefore, the proffered opinion of Complainants of a fair market value arbitrarily capped at $327,000, irrespective of what evidence there might be of the fair market value of the property, has no probative value in the present appeal.
Lacey Appraisal Not Substantial and Persuasive Evidence of Value
The appraisal offered by Complainants failed to rise to the level of substantial and persuasive evidence due to various factors. The most critical factors being: (1) the acreage of sale properties 1 and 2 which was significantly less than the subject; (2) the lack of any upward adjustment for the smaller lots on properties 1 and 2; (3) the smaller living area of the three sales properties when compared to the subject; (4) the amount of the per square foot adjustment for living area of the sales properties; and (5) the indicated per square foot value of the subject falling significantly below the average of the sale properties. These factors combined resulted in no probative value being assigned to the Lacey appraisal.
Smaller Acreage on Sales 1 and 2
Sales 1 and 2 consisted of lots of only .27 and .22 of an acre respectively, compared to the subject’s 3 acre size. The fact that these two properties land areas were only 9% and 7% of the size of the subject, casts a serious and fatal shadow over the comparability of these two sales. Although these two sales were located within approximately a half mile of the subject, the small lot size far outweighs proximity in location in addressing the issue of the comparability of these sales for purposes of appraising the subject property.
Had there simply been no sales of properties on lots in the 2.5 to 3.5 acre range, located in acceptable proximity to the subject, which were otherwise comparable, then it might have been acceptable to rely on sales 1 and 2. However, other sales, more like the size of the subject lot were available, as utilized by Respondent’s appraiser, were available for use as comparables. Based on land area, Sales 1 and 2 were not appropriate sales to be employed for the present appraisal problem.
Tied to the extremely small lot size of these two comparables is the fact that the type of neighborhood in which these two properties are located are different than the subject neighborhood. The locator map in Exhibit A, shows that the street density in the area from which these two properties were drawn is much greater than the street density of the subject. In other words, the subject is located in an area that is more open and has less streets in close proximity to one another than the area where sales 1 and 2 are located.
Lack of Upward Adjustment for Lot Size
The difference in lot size for sales 1 and 2 demanded an upward adjustment. According to the Lacey cost approach the subject tract was valued at $48,000, or approximately $16,000 per acre. Based on this land value, an upward adjustment of approximately $43,680 to $44,480 would have been warranted for these two sales to account for this difference in land area. Adjustments of this magnatude, representing an adjustment of approximately 19% of sale price, raises a serious red flag as to alleged comparability. The failure to recognize and make an adjustment raises another significant red flag as to the reliability of the determination of value based on these two sales. This failure presents an appraisal defect which weighs heavily against the persuasiveness of the appraiser’s opinion of value.
Smaller Living Area
Each of the sales used by Complainants’ appraiser are significantly smaller than the subject in total living area. Based upon the living area for the subject used by Mr. Lacy of 3,851 square feet of living area, the three comparables were 15%, 21% and 18% smaller than the subject. This is an average living area that is slightly over 18% smaller than the subject. Like the problem of the land area, this presents a very questionable factor as to the actually comparability of each of the three sales.
Generally, the appraiser should strive to use sales which have a living area that is within 500 square feet of the subject. Sale 1 is slightly beyond this gauge (89 square feet). This is not so much that by itself the smaller living area would disqualify this sale. However, the other two sales fall 323 and 199 square feet beyond the 500 square foot standard. Collectively, the sales do not give support to one another on the critical issue of living area. The sale closest in living area to the subject (18% beyond the 500 foot criterion) could be acceptable if it was the sale which had the largest variance from the 500 foot guideline. However, the other two sales represent a 65% and a 40% deviation above a 500 square foot difference.
Living area of a sale property is a critical factor to be carefully examined in determining the comparability of a property to a subject. The three sales being all significanlty smaller than the subject possess little value for purposes of comparability, in light of other evidence on this record.
Adjustment for Living Area
Tied to the fact of the significantly smaller living area of the three sales properties when compared to the subject, is the amount of the adjustment for this critical difference made by the appraiser. The appraiser adjusted each sale at a $10 per square foot of living area value. This amount of adjustment is extreemly low given the type of house that is the subject of the appraisal problem.
The per square foot sales prices for the three sales relied upon by Mr. Lacey were $70.20, $78.10 and $79.28. This results in an average per square foot sales price of $75.86. The $10 per square foot represents only 13% of the average per square foot sales price. It has been the experience of the Hearing Officer that a more appropriate adjustment for living area will fall within a range of 25 – 30% of the per square foot sales price. The failure to use a more realistic living area adjustment weighs against the persuasiveness of the opinion of value developed by the appraisal.
Indicated Per Square Foot Value
The final opinion of value arrived at by Mr. Lacey of $243,00 calculates to a per square foot of living area value of only $63.10. This falls far below the bottom of the range established by the sales used in the appraisal. It represents only 83% of the average per square foot sales price of the three sales. An indicated value which is at the lower end of the value of the sales used in a sales comparison approach does not automatically disqualify the opinion of value determined by the appraiser. However, the per square foot value provides a check for the overall appraisal. A value which, like this one, falls 17% below the lowest sale value used in the sales comparison approach is an indicator that the sale properties relied upon are questionable as appropriate comparables. This is a further factor which weighs against the persuasive and probative value which can be atached to Complainants’ appraisal.
The combination of the five factors discussed in detail above all result in Complainants’ appraisal being neither substantial, nor persuasive in this case. The variance in land area for sales 1 and 2 renders these properties not comparable to the subject. The only sale which is comparable in land area to the subject is sale 3. Essentially, the Lacey appraisal presents a single sale comparable, sale 3. The old adage, One sale does not a market make, is applicable here.
Taken as a whole, in light of the evidence of valuation presented by Respondent, the opinion of value based on the Lacey appraisal is flawed to the extent that it does not provide a substantial and persuasive basis to arrive at value. The owners’ opinions of value likewise fail to meet the substantial and persuasive standard to be probative on the issue of fair market value. Complainants failed to carry their burden of proof.
Respondent Proves Value
The evidence provided by Respondent met the standard of substantial and persuasive to establish a fair market value of $345,000 for the subject property.
Controlling Factors For The Appraisal Problem
Three factors are of extreme importance in this appraisal problem – land area, living area and location.
The comparables used by Mr. Whyman were all lots of very similar size to the subject 3 to 3.7 acres. Acreage of comparables within approximately a half acre of the subject, when dealing with a 3 acre tract, falls within an appropriate level to be comparable for appraisal purposes. An appropriate downward adjustment was made to the two comparables that were just over a half-acre larger than the subject. Simply stated, the Whyman appraisal on this point was superior to the Lacey appraisal given the fact that Mr. Whyman used sales of properties that were only 1% to 22% larger than the subject, instead of using sales which were 91% to 93% smaller than the subject. Furthermore, Mr. Whyman adjusted for the acreage difference as should have been done.
The next factor which provides persuasive weight and strength to the Whyman appraisal is the fact that his three comparables, taken individually and collectively, are significantly closer in living area to the subject than the Lacey sale properties. Mr. Whyman’s first comparable was only 62 square feet smaller than the subject. Such a small difference required no upward adjustment. Comparable 2 had the largest variance from the subject, being 536 square feet smaller than the subject. This area falls slightly beyond the 500 square foot standard by 7.2%. This is an acceptable variance. It is superior to the Lacey comparables which exceeded the standard by 18 to 65%. Comparable 3 was within the 500 square foot criterion.
Once again taken individually and collectively on the important matter of living area, the Whyman comparables were far superior to the sales selected by Mr. Lacey. Furthermore, the adjustment made by Mr. Whyman of $25.00 per square foot represented approximately 24% of the average per square foot sales price of the comparables. This is a far more realistic adjustment than the $10 per square foot or 13% of sales price employed by the Lacey appraisal.
The factor for location does not always equal proximity. Indeed there are many instances where properties in closer proximity to a subject may not be the best representations of the type of subdivision or area in which the subject is located. The locator maps appearing in both appraisals establish that the subject is located in a subdivision which does not have the street density of the area to the southwest of the subject. This being the general area from which sales 1 and 2 of the Lacey appraisal were taken. The area to the north and northwest of the subject, the area from which the Whyman comparables were taken, has less density of subdivisions and subdivision streets. In this important respect the Whyman comparables are in a location more like the location of the subject.
In the critical factors of land area, living area and location, the Whyman appraisal, with appropriate adjustments where required, provides substantial and persuasive evidence to establish value. The final concluded value of $345,000, which calculates to a per square foot living area value of $89.07 falls just at the lower end, but within the range of the comparables. This per square foot value is 92.4% of the average per square foot sales price of the three comparables. This gives additional support for the valuation determined through the Whyman appraisal.
The Whyman appraisal arrives at a value based upon three properties which in terms of comparability to the subject are far superior to the sales relied upon by Complainants’ appraiser. The necessary adjustments are reflected of appropriate amounts to account for relevant differences between the comparables and the subject. For all of the above reasons detailed in the analysis of both the Complainants’ and Respondent’s appraisals, the Whyman appraisal provides substantial and persuasive evidence, which is probative on the issue of fair market value.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for St. Louis County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2001 and 2002 is set at $65,550.
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing of such decision. The application shall contain specific grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous. Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the appeal is based will result in summary denial. Section 138.432, RSMo 1994.
If an application for review of this decision is made to the Commission, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the Commission. If no application for review is received by the Commission within thirty (30) days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of St. Louis County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall disburse the protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accord with the decision on the underlying assessment in this appeal. If any or all protested taxes have been disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031(8), RSMo, either party may apply to the circuit court having jurisdiction of the cause for disposition of the protested taxes held by the taxing authority.
Any Finding of Fact which is a Conclusion of Law or Decision shall be so deemed. Any Decision which is a Finding of Fact or Conclusion of Law shall be so deemed.
SO ORDERED April 16, 2003.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
W. B. Tichenor
Chief Hearing Officer